Thursday, February 19, 2009

C'Mon D-Wade! You (and I) Are Better Than That!

What’s up with D-Wade?

Adulterer? STDs? Deadbeat dad? Sleazy business partner? Closet pothead?

If his soon-to-be ex-wife and former business partner are to be believed, as reported by the AP, Dwyane Wade ’s off-court behavior hardly qualifies the Miami Heat superstar as a role model.

What exactly has Wade been accused of? Well…

  • Siohvaughn Wade, Dwyane’s high-school sweetheart-turned-estranged wife, is claiming that in 2007, Wade infected her with an unspecified sexually transmitted disease, which he himself contracted from a woman that was not his wife. She has since withdrawn the claim from the couple divorce proceedings, but still stands behind it, and retains the right to re-file it in the future.
  • Future-Former-Mrs.-Wade, the mother of D-Wade’s two sons, also claims that Wade is an absentee father who often goes “weeks at a time” without speaking with his children.
  • Additionally, Richard Von Houtman, a former business associate, has filed a breach of contract suit against Wade, who’d allowed the use of his name in the name of a handful of bars named "D Wade's Sports Grill", claiming that Wade hasn't promotion requirements.
  • In addition to the lawsuit, Von Houtman also claims that Wade rented an apartment in Miami, which he used to smoke pot and host sex parties. Frankly, that sounds like a blast, but maybe not the best behavior for a married father of two whose with as much riding on image as D-Wade.

Through his lawyers, Wade has denied all of these claims, asserting that both his wife and Von Houtman are looking to ruin his good name. He’s even gone so far as to file a libel suit against both parties, reportedly seeking at least $50,000 from each. Whether these claims are factual (and if so, to what extent?), remains to be seen, but the damage is already being done. For Dwyane Wade, having his name linked with stories like this (and all at once!), and this incident looks like it may have some legs, is about as bad from a PR perspective as anything not involving an arrest.

One nagging part of this story persists- Dwyane Wade is not the first high athlete to get divorced, nor is he the first to have a falling-out with a business partner, but those situations normally work themselves out without too much hoopla, which begs the question: is Wade just really unlucky to have fallen in with two really nasty characters? Or is some of this stuff true? How much?

I am frankly not happy with myself for writing about this. I believe that celebrities are no better than you and me- just as flawed, and susceptible to the same pitfalls- if not more so. And they are entitled to lead their own lives however they’d like- and as long as they’re not running afoul of the law, they don’t owe us an explanation for anything. It’s just that, for some reason, this one surprised me. For some reason, because he can throw down a mean dunk, I developed the opinion that "that doesn't seem like Dwyane Wade”. And that’s another thing I’m not happy about. I thought I was smarter than this.

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